Going against the trend, the three-day Taj Literary festival Saturday began with a lecture in Sanskrit instead of English, as it was expected and as it had happened till date, giving a surprise to the participants.
It is the first time, the beginning of Taj Literature Festival began with Sanskrit language, which receives lauds from the audience and participants. Manjulata Sharma, who heads the department of Sanskrit at St John's College, Agra, spoke in chaste, musical Sanskrit about "Ghalib kavyam" (the poetry of Ghalib), quoted shlokas and compared the essence with many of the popular "shairs" (poems).
The packed open-air theatre at the Delhi Public School at Shastripuram, which served as the venue after some glitches at the earlier-decided venue, applauded and cheered poet and filmmaker Muzaffar Ali, photographer Raghu Rai, and several other guests gathered here late Friday evening. Ashok Chkardhar recited humorous verse, getting the audience roaring.
"We are surprised at the reaction and passionate involvement of the locals," said Meera Shankar, diplomat and former ambassador to the US, who hails from the city.
Taj literature festival is one of the top renowned literature festivals held every year at the city of Taj. Unlike Jaipur literature festival, which is too elitist, Taj Literature Festival is truly a national festival with a local flavour, said political commentator and former teacher at Heidelberg University, Germany, Paras Nath Choudhary.
"This festival is truly national with a local flavour, unlike Jaipur which is too elitist. We are particularly happy to note that the focus is on literature, poetry and romance, without stirring controversy," said political commentator and former teacher at Heidelberg University, Germany, Paras Nath Choudhary.
Unfortunately, Ruskin Bond is not well and could not make it, but we have a video message from him, Harvijay Singh Bahia, chairman of the Organising Committee informed to news agency.
Shivani Chaturvedi, spokesperson of the Festival, said, "We have students, thousands of them, from all corners of the country here. This is what we had planned, to sensitise today's urban youth to the rich heritage of arts, culture, literature of Braj Mandal."
Singer Bhoomika enchanted the audience with a recital of 19th century Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib. Ghalib, born in Agra, together with Meer and Nazeer Akbarabadi, are the pillars of Urdu "adab", commented Syed Jafri, who will lead a panel discussion Saturday on "Mohabbat ki Zuban Urdu" (Urdu, the language of love).
--With IANS Inputs--